Hybrid varieties, more irrigation can avert rice crisis

April 11, 2011

Jonathan de Santos
Sun Star Online
April 12, 2011

MANILA — Planting hybrid rice and irrigating more fields will help avert a rice crisis forecast by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica), the chairman of the Senate committee on agriculture and food said Tuesday.

Senator Francis Pangilinan said that high-yield rice varieties can bolster the country’s dwindling rice supply.

“The average yield per hectare is 3.8 metric tons. Inbred and hybrid varieties increase the yield per hectare to as much as 15 metric tons—three times the current yield,” he said.

Planting those varieties in irrigated rice fields can double output further, he said.

By irrigating around 3.2 million hectares of rice land that still depend on the rain, farmers will be able to harvest two croppings instead of just one.

“If we ignore the signs, a ‘crisis’ will creep up slowly, catching us unaware. On the other hand, we can use this time to prepare and ensure food security and stable prices,” Pangilinan added.

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